So, this has been bugging my since my youth. When looking at a map of The Earth.

In the Southern Hemisphere, both Africa and South America are tall and slim, they get thinner towards the pole. Then there's Australia, and a huge amount of scattered smaller islands.

The Northern Hemisphere appears to have a huge amount of additional land-mass. Eurasia and North America are both tall and wide, they get thinner to the East and West.

What's the current understanding of this? There definitely seems to be a north-south divide in how the land is distributed.


closed as off-topic by sammy gerbil, stafusa, Jon Custer, JamalS, Kyle Kanos Dec 16 '17 at 18:30

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    $\begingroup$ Just a coincidence perhaps? $\endgroup$ – flippiefanus Dec 15 '17 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ In addition to the other answers, Eurasia and North America aren't actually that tall/wide. The huge size of Canada, Greenland, and Russia are due to Mercator projection. $\endgroup$ – knzhou Dec 15 '17 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ @knzhou yep. But still southern hemisphere contains only a third of the land $\endgroup$ – OON Dec 15 '17 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not a question about physics. Earth Science SE would be more suitable. In fact, it already has an answer there. $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Dec 15 '17 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ The Earth Science SE question suggests (among others) the rotational precession as a cause. This is something which physics can address. $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Dec 15 '17 at 16:52

The continents are constaly moving and how much landmass was in the northern hemisphere compared to the southern hemisphere (just as in the eastern hemisphere compared to the western hemisphere) was constantly changing.

For example in the devonian period most of the landmass was concentrated in the southern hemisphere.

Devonian map Source fot the paleomap

So there is no reason. It's just a temporary situation

  • $\begingroup$ That's even more interesting, in that it suggests the continents overwhelmingly drifted north. I could see an argument based on the centrifugal force, that they might tend towards the equator, but past it? $\endgroup$ – AJFaraday Dec 15 '17 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ @AJFaraday And before that they overwhelmingly drifted south. What you derive from that? $\endgroup$ – OON Dec 15 '17 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ @AJFaraday As I understand while Earth rotation influence the process the main driving force for plate tectonics is assumed to be mantle convection processes that obviously involve much more parameters than lattitude. By the way I suggest you to look at this animation commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$ – OON Dec 15 '17 at 16:58

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